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6 Creative Writing Prompts

Updated on September 25, 2015

When you're at a writing stump or you just want to write about something different but you're not sure what, you can consider one of many writing prompts to help you along. There are a number of creative writing exercises that you can consider trying out, and you can be almost guaranteed that you'll come up with something different every time.

Because writing can be very therapeutic, it's a great habit to have whenever you have spare time. Just sit down with a pen and a scrap piece of paper and write down whatever you want to.

You can easily get out your pent up emotions and share your thoughts without having to actually express them verbally to someone.

Writing is a fantastic means of cleansing yourself of doubt, fear, anger, and any other major emotion you may be feeling, but if you're not quite sure where to start, check out the below writing prompts to get you started. You'll also find a number of reference books to help you along, as well.

1. Know Your ABC's

This is has always been one of my favorite writing exercises. You can use it when your stuck and suffering writer's block. You can use it when you just want to write and have nothing to write about. You can use it in just about any situation.

This particular exercise, calls for you to write for fifteen minutes without ever stopping your pen.

You will write about anything and everything that comes to your mind.

No editing.

No moving backwards to read what you've written.

If at anytime in that 15 minute period you run out of words, your pen cannot stop moving, so what are you supposed to do?

Write your ABC's.

Continue to write the alphabet until words come to your head.

2. Keep Collections

Write for at 5- 10 minutes about an object you've picked up.

You will want to keep a collection or odds and ends ranging from buttons, string, stones, shells, figurines, etc.

When you can't think of anything to write about, go to your collection and choose an object in hopes to spark your imagination.

It may be easiest to keep all the objects in a small box or canister.

3. Fill in the Blanks

This is a fun technique that allows you to take a simple phrase, and turn it into a page long entry.

The phrases can range anywhere from simple to complex, and you can make them your own.

Turn a happy thought, into something sad and depressing, if you will.

Try to write at least one page from any given phrase.

I have provided you with ten phrases to get you started.

  • One day, I decided to...
  • Watching the rainbow pass us by as we drove...
  • Her purse seemed to be filled with...
  • The party was a disaster because...
  • The car sped off...
  • I can't wait to go home and...
  • Today at work...
  • After prom we...
  • Later at the picnic...
  • Tomorrow when we go to the beach...


4. Idea Box

Create an idea box for all of the ideas that you come up with. This will help you save the things that spark your imagination for a later day.

Write down whatever inspres you and store it away. Accumulate as many ideas as possible, so that you have ideas to pull from when you're stumped.

5. Scenery & Conversations

Scenes

Go outside, another room, the mall, anywhere. Take a look around for a minute or so, and go back to you pen and paper to write everything down that you remember.

Try to be specific, or be general. Just write for ate least 10 minutes.

This will help you create scenes and scene idea that you can use later on.

Dialogue

While you're sitting in the food court of the mall, try to listen in to conversations. If you hear anything you shouldn't, find another conversation to listen in on.

Note the people talking. Assume their personalities, likes, dislikes. Try to figure out the people in the conversation and the people they may be talking about.

Use this in future dialogue. This will help you get into your character's personality and speech. It should help you when your story calls for two or more characters talking.

By seeing what people look like, how they dress, how they talk, and what body mannerisms they make, you can incorporate these features into your characters and their dialogue.

6. Jumble Story

This is a rather interesting exercise. You will want to pick four numbers, each ranging from 1 to 10.

You can do this a few ways:

  • Have the numbers written on small slips of paper and random draw one, replace it, draw again, replace the paper, and draw for the third time, and then the fourth.
  • Have a friend choose the four numbers of you.
  • Have the numbers written down on a piece of paper, close your eyes, and point four times, opening your eyes between each pick.

You can come up with other ways of picking the three numbers, as well.

The first number will choose your character, the second your setting, the third the time, and the fourth the situation.

What you will do, is to take the the four elements and combine them in some way to form a story.

The character that you choose must be your main character, but not necessarily your only character.

The setting, time, and situation, must, also, be your main subjects, but you can deviate with other settings, times, and sub-situations.

Have fun with the exercise. You should try to complete an entire short story. Don't worry about editing just yet. Just write.

I've provided you with your first four sets of ten elements. So, start picking and choosing.

Time

  1. Winter
  2. During a thunderstorm
  3. The morning after prom
  4. Spring
  5. December
  6. Midnight or around midnight
  7. Summer
  8. In the middle of a fire
  9. In the middle of a snowstorm
  10. The afternoon

Situation

  1. A death
  2. Secret needs to be told
  3. Someone has or will hurt someone
  4. A crime has occurred or is about to
  5. Someone has lost/found something
  6. Someone is falling in love
  7. Reminiscing on how things change
  8. There has been a family emergency
  9. Something embarrassing happened
  10. Someone has just gone to the doctor


Character

  1. A new mother
  2. An actress
  3. A recent high school graduate
  4. A waitress
  5. An alien
  6. A homeless man
  7. An elderly woman
  8. A freshman in high school
  9. A college student
  10. A musician

Setting

  1. The woods
  2. A wedding reception
  3. A party
  4. A restaurant
  5. A mall
  6. A park
  7. A beach
  8. A lake
  9. A baseball game
  10. A seminar


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    • Rich W2K profile image

      Rich 

      5 years ago from Gold Coast

      Excellent ideas. I really need to use some of these tips in my job when I'm stuck for what to say or when I have to think of new ways to say something that's been said many times already. Thanks

    • profile image

      kelsmcdaniel 

      5 years ago

      Love the advice! It's helpful when we hit a rut and can't come up with anything fresh!

    • Tricia Ward profile image

      Tricia Ward 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      Fantastic tips for writers block, I personally tend to use free penning or use pictures to give me ideas to get those juices going. Great hub

    • nochance profile image

      Chloe 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Really great tips. I'm definitely gonna promote this during National Novel Writing Month.

    • Benoitsmidget profile image

      Benoitsmidget 

      7 years ago from Boston

      This is the exact article I needed to read today. Thanks! It was so well written and so inspirational :)

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 

      7 years ago

      Creative and clever. You give a lot of good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • LedToolZ profile image

      LedToolZ 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      I liked your jumble story idea...thanks, im gonna give it a shot :)

    • mary.jane profile image

      mary.jane 

      8 years ago

      thanks whitney, great tips ! :)

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Very creative, indeed and very helpful, too. No more reason to procrastinate or postpone my urge to write habitually, due to lack of prompts. There! It's out!

    • Sharen Hansen profile image

      Sharen Hansen 

      8 years ago

      I like this but I am not sure I understand Jumble Story I will be reading it again. I will be back to thhis site again.

    • DJTavares profile image

      DJTavares 

      8 years ago from Dedham, Ma.

      I have always loved creative writing, and as an artist I can appreciate all of your ideas about observation. I think that these ideas can be useful tools for individuals to achieve a better connection to the world around them. At times people get so caught up in life and forget to just take it all in.... especially the little things.

    • World-Traveler profile image

      World-Traveler 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks for this informative information. I can use this as another tool to help teach my students English. I have been fortunate having taught English in several countries including Thailand and South Korea. I have written several Hubpage posts about those experiences with pictures of my students from Thailand and Korea. I look forward to reading more from you. Thanks!

    • Jim Bryan profile image

      Jim Bryan 

      9 years ago from Austin, TX

      Thanks for this Hub, Whitney, and keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      J Mockridge 

      9 years ago

      Just what I need during this bout of 'I can't write.' I will try these tips to see if they can kickstart the brain.

    • profile image

      SirDent 

      9 years ago

      This is a great hub. All writers at times get writer's block. Great ideas contained here that can help break the block.

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